Op-ed From Rep. McDermed: Property Tax Task Force Sees Disappointing, but Not Unexpected Results

I told you so.

I’m a mom, so that’s a phrase I hate to have to use. 

But it’s what I am thinking given the results of the property tax task force.

This most recent task force was proposed in response to calls for property tax reform in the midst of the debate over getting rid of Illinois’ flat income tax system. The Democrats proposed a task force because it was the easiest solution at the time and would provide minimal, but enough, cover to allow them to vote for a new tax system that would mean tax hikes in a state already overburdened with taxes. A state that thinks taxpayers are bottomless pits, all the while proving you can’t just throw money at a problem and hope that will solve everything.

Last year I stood on the House floor and said that this task force was a sham, intended only to kick the can down the road. I was concerned that, like many task forces before it, it wouldn’t amount to anything.

An unwieldy 88 member task force was created that ignored statutory deadlines and thus far has failed to produce concrete, actionable, and appropriate steps the General Assembly should take in the coming weeks to alleviate the state’s egregious property tax burden that is sending Illinoisans packing and leaving those that can’t move struggling to keep their heads above water.

Last year with the capital plan we found that both parties can come together and make tough decisions that would ultimately be to the benefit of all. Property tax reform, being so inextricably tied to education and entrenched local government bureaucracy, will require tough decisions. It will require hard votes and legislation that will likely anger certain people or groups. That’s what’s needed for real reform in our clearly broken property tax system. Republicans have ideas, are willing to debate the issues, and stand ready to utilize their political will, but it won’t be enough if the Democrats aren’t willing to join us.